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[Y]ral: Africans Talk About Their Experiences In India, What They Reveal Is Shameful

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By Sanskriti Pandey:

A woman trying to pacify her cranky child points to the African ‘monster’ walking behind them, warning that he’ll take her away. In the metro, someone turns and moves away not-so-subtly when they realise they’re standing too close to a Black person. In September 2014, a mob lynched 3 Nigerians for allegedly misbehaving with an Indian woman. Spitting, being laughed at, being asked for drugs, and women being harassed – this is what some African nationals said they experience everyday in India.

Racism is practised openly in a country that has herself been a victim to it. We are quick to cry ‘discrimination’ in countries like the UK, Australia and the US, but our own brown skins are subjects of self-loathing. We leave no stones unturned in displaying our preferences of colour, intolerance of an “alien” culture, and absence of a social conscience. In this confessional video, African nationals in India offer first hand accounts of the rude alienation they experience in India.

To know more about what I think of this video, follow me on Twitter at @im_sanskriti.

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  1. Anand Sunder Nayak

    I’ve been to Tanzania. I didn’t even feel one instance of racism. They are lovely people, with none of the sick pride n prejudices our country has. What right do we have to take offense when we bear the brunt of racially charged attacks in countries like the US(albeit on a much smaller scale). Very sorry state indeed. It’s time for the government to educate the people, create awareness. Time for us to come out of the dark ages.

  2. Rishabh

    What a brilliant piece! Haven’t seen a video story this refreshing and eye-opening coming out of India in the longest time. As an Indian living abroad for half a decade now, I know how it feels to be an alien, and how important it becomes for the people around you to dispel that feeling. Looks like we have a long way to go on the scale of acceptance and understanding.

    1. Shine

      I have extensively travelled to African Countries including, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Ethiopia, South Africa etc. I have never ever felt any kind of issues there, very friendly people, except some crimes here and there. – There are lot of Nigerian Internet Scams, makes normal people a bit scared of Africans.. Also the media is mentioning about ABOLA, just people are scared, I am sure that there are lot of lovely indians other than the racist ones, lets hope it will change.

      Cheers
      Shine

  3. emmaginja

    its quite strange hearing this, because i lived in india for some time and was treated so very well and
    respected, i dont know if it was only perculiar to the places i lived during my stay there. But never theless,they should not be blamed completely,the media should be blamed,the media has castrated us of our
    pride,they try and are still trying to destroy our pride,such that even a struggling country like india would want to take africans for granted.
    In my country,Nigeria almost all the government reserved areas are occupied by indians,we treat them
    like angels just as we treat other foreigners,they even pay less prices for goods as against the normal
    prices for the nigerian citizens.
    finally a lesson should be learnt from this,african leaders should work harder to make their citizens
    regain their respects,by establishing all the needed social amenities ,so that instead of them running
    abroad ,they should rather attract people from abroad.
    I finally want to add that ,despite our colors,we are one. ONE LOVE ,ONE WORLD.

  4. Pallav Hatimuria

    I have been staying around the so called Black people or Africans since last 3-4 years and to be honest I have never seen any such racism or related problems faced by them. Symbiosis International University has seen a vast amount of African nationals coming and studying among Indian students. They wake up with us sleep with us jump on us during football tournaments and if we go racist they come back at us and the best part is that nowadays such acts are used to bond. Its just how one perceives the vision, how one tries to execute it and how supportive and grasping is with someones ethnicity. I am myself from the north eastern part of India and have got that so called “chink” facial attribute but never had any problem for that look or from where I am because what matters is adapting and understanding. The issues posted in the videos are natural like with Indians. I have seen my Father being used as a medium to scare a child. But that doesn’t mean they hate him. I can go on with more examples like that but I think I’ve made my point clear.

    1. emmaginja

      hey can u please correct that statement of urs- so called black or africans. when you type messages for public to read, you have to be very careful of ur choice of words. the first line of your comment portrayed a bad message ,thereby contradicting the positive view in the other parts of your comment.

    2. Anand Sunder Nayak

      I think he meant to quote the author, who has used ‘Black person’ and ‘African’ in her article, Emmaginja! I think he meant no disrespect.

    3. Pallav Hatimuria

      I am really very sorry Emmaginja if you felt I was being offensive with my language and I wish I could find the edit button. But what I really meant was entirely rhetoric to fact the video has been made. I was commenting purely on the basis of what I saw and what I felt. And Expression can be anyways, all you need to have is the patience to understand and I am glad you did. Thank you that you sensed the positivity at the end. 🙂

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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